The term ‘personalization’ is one of those buzzwords that can mean different things in different industries. For example, in marketing, personalization is sending mass emails but addresses each recipient by their unique name. Pretty mundane stuff. At its most extreme, artificial intelligence powered by machine learning can develop a highly detailed customer profile that provides deep analytics and insight into the best practices for retail and marketing. That’s pretty exciting stuff. And it’s especially exciting for airlines.

Travel personalization and airlines

Travel personalization is being able to identify the unique needs of travelers at key moments along their entire journey, and then serve up offers and content that will truly meet those needs. It isn’t just about putting as many products in front of a passenger as possible. It’s about curating content and creating meaningful experiences, tailored to each individual. This means going deeper than bluntly marketing to a segment of travelers - who really are becoming a blend of all segments (ie: business, family, romantic getaway, etc.) Even if an airline has access to great content and offers, the expectation is high that a passenger is going to do the work required to search and research.

Instead, airlines need to develop an understanding of the specific motivations behind each travel occasion and cater to those needs. They need to read the intent signals their passengers are presenting. Just like how social media sites advertise based upon their users’ search history. For airlines, knowing if a passenger has put an experience on a “wishlist”, or has searched on their app for certain in-destination experiences would be invaluable insight. If an airline had access to this unique travel data they could serve up services and experiences with a greater likelihood of conversion. 

And yes, you guessed it - there’s a platform for that.

Travel personalization through a digital concierge

Using technology like a travel commerce platform, airlines can “be there” to suggest answers to questions, or solutions to problems before they manifest into real travel stresses for passengers. For example, giving passengers the option to jump the line if they’re running late. Beyond being employed for travel stress reduction, a digital concierge can suggest unique and curated content, like the perfect spot to watch the sunset in Ensenada.

Ensenada Sunset

The more a passenger interacts with the platform, the more user data is collected, which in turn gives the platform more insight and personalization power.

It’s a viciously profitable circle, to say the least.

“73 percent of travelers said they would be willing or very willing to receive text messages about unplanned excursions, dinners, and other experiences while on vacation.” [source]

Airlines need to establish the technology stack

To consider moving forward with travel personalization strategy, an airline needs to consult with travel data experts to be able to understand what data is most valuable and needed. The data must be connected, analyzed, and routed through machine learning algorithms to put all that data to good use. Airlines, however, are starting out with a key advantage. Unlike other types of retailers who are forced to “cold start” with zero data points, airlines already possess enough travel data to begin personalizing offers almost immediately.

Let’s talk about how the Guestlogix commerce platform can bring travel personalization to your airline with little IT investment. Book a demo and let us show you how much ancillary and tourism revenue is on the table and what you can do to unlock its fullest potential.

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